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Posts Tagged ‘big government’

Castle Rock, CO, refuses federal funds

Posted by Richard on May 17, 2016

Three cheers for Castle Rock, CO (population 55,000), located about 30 miles south of Denver. Its Town Council is refusing federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) because of the onerous strings attached:

… At issue for the town was a new set of regulations, 377 pages in all, which gives the unelected HUD bureaucrats broad powers over grant recipient communities, including the power to reverse electoral decisions by local voters, change local zoning laws and force said communities to join regions against the its wishes.

Faced with the choice of refusing federal funds or submitting to increased federal intrusion into their local concerns, Castle Rock’s town government chose the former, reports In a letter to local HUD applicants, mayor Paul Donahue explained that,

“If we continue to accept the HUD grants, we will be forced to prepare detailed taxpayer-financed studies of our schools, retail, housing, and other community aspects to HUD who will decide if our neighborhoods are “furthering fair housing.” That means that even though our town has never been found in violation of the anti-discrimination housing rules that have been law for over 50 years, HUD on a whim could force us to build low-income, government subsidized housing into our neighborhoods if HUD decides we aren’t racially balanced enough.”

In other words, Castle Rock’s town council has recognized that the new federal regulations are likely to be used not to mitigate actual instances of discriminatory behavior, but as politically-motivated means to produce politically-motivated ends. As Castle Rock’s letter acknowledged, far from being a paranoid hypothetical, this scenario has already played out in Westchester County, New York, where county leaders have been fighting a HUD directive to construct 750 affordable-housing units in established neighborhoods. But while Westchester County has sued to have this decision reversed – a suit that, to nobody’s surprise, was decided in the federal government’s favor by the federal government’s judge – it has not decided to refuse the HUD funds.

What Castle Rock has discovered, that Westchester County apparently has not, is that federal funds always come with strings attached, and the strongest string is invariably tied to local sovereignty. The Castle Rock town council has heroically identified this truth and has decided that the funds are not worth the cost. Donahue’s letter concludes,

“As a Town Council, we will resist all federal attempt to destroy our local sovereignty, be it from HUD, the EPA, or any other government agency. Council will always defend our resident’s right to make their own local decisions without federal interference. While I appreciate the many good works that are represented by your (the grant applicants’) programs, accepting onerous federal grant requirements, which harm our community, cannot be the price to pay for federal monies.”

Towns, cities, counties and states all across the country should take notice of what Castle Rock has done and should hasten to emulate its example.

Word. If you don’t take the feds’ money, they can’t attach the strings with which to control you, and you’ve effectively nullified their edicts.

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Best Bundy Ranch commentary: Dr. Ben Carson

Posted by Richard on April 24, 2014

Yesterday’s column by Dr. Ben Carson about the Cliven Bundy case is by far the best and most important writing on the subject that I’ve seen, and a must read. He absolutely nails it.

Some time ago, I read somewhere (don’t recall the source) that, while Carson is a great advocate of liberty and limited government on other issues, he’s not a supporter of gun rights. Wrong! (emphasis added)

Another important lesson from this incident is the value of a well-armed citizenry. The Second Amendment was crafted by wise citizens who recognized how quickly an enemy invasion could occur and how our own government could be deceived into thinking it had the right to dominate the people.

Such domination is considerably more difficult when people have arms and can put up significant resistance. This is the reason that brutal dictators like Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin tried to disarm the populace before imposing governmental control. Such domination could occur in America in the not too distant future if we are not vigilant.

We must be reasonable and willing to engage in conversation about how to limit the availability of dangerous weapons to criminals and violent or insane people. In light of past worldwide atrocities committed by tyrants, though, to threaten the Second Amendment rights of ordinary American citizens is itself insanity. Those wishing to ban assault weapons fail to understand the original intent of the Second Amendment.

I’m currently reading Carson’s autobiography, Gifted Hands, and his bestseller America the Beautiful is waiting for me. The more I learn about the man, the more I like and admire him.

There’s quite a grassroots Carson for President movement underway. As with Herman Cain before him, the consensus criticism is that he’s unqualified because he has no record of “public service.” But if ever there was a time when a campaign could be successful based on the theme, “We need a President who’s not a politician,” this may be it.

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Remembering what worked: the supply-side revolution

Posted by Richard on March 15, 2014

In a recent Cato Policy Report, Brian Domitrovic contrasted the growth of government in the past 15 years with the comparable period before that, and suggested that what this country needs is another tax revolt:

For about 15 years now, the federal government, in all its myriad activities, has been in major expansion mode. The Federal Reserve, the regulatory apparatus, the tax code, the police and surveillance machinery of the state — all of these extensions of the government have broadened their reach, power, and ambition in significant fashion since the late 1990s.

The basic metric that reflects all this is the level of federal spending. In 2013 the government of the United States spent 55 percent more money — in real, inflation-adjusted terms — than it did in 1999. Economic growth in that 14-year span has been 30 percent. …

The moment is apt, then, to reclaim a tradition of our recent history, a tradition that the big-government 21st century is striving to suppress. This is the great successful effort to slow Leviathan of a generation and a half ago — the effort that gave us the Ronald Reagan revolution of the 1980s.

By all means, read the whole thing. But this graph clearly illustrates one of the key points:

gov. growth vs. econ. growth

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Let’s return to the golden years of the Clinton presidency

Posted by Richard on March 6, 2014

On Tuesday, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal, for what it’s worth (not much, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which describes it as “[i]ncomplete, inconclusive, and indecipherable”). He proposes to spend $3.901 trillion (that’s $3,901,000,000,000), almost $1 trillion (33%) more than in 2008. The Obama administration describes this budget as ending the “era of austerity.” The “era of austerity” is apparently FY2012 and FY2013, when actual outlays declined by a whopping 4% from the stimulus-swollen FY2011 level.

Me, I’d rather look back at a different “era.” Remember Bill “the era of big government is over” Clinton? He’s revered by the Socialist Democrats, and his eight years in office are viewed as some kind of golden age. Let’s set the Wayback Machine to FY1999, the last full fiscal year of the Clinton presidency.

Actual FY1999 outlays were $1.702 trillion. According to this price deflator calculator, that’s $2.266 trillion in 2013 dollars. About 42% lower than Obama’s proposed FY2015 budget. Now that’s what I call austerity — or at least a good start.

My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I don’t recall children starving, bridges collapsing, and old people dying in the streets during the Clinton years.

If we had a decent opposition party in this country, it would demand a return to Clinton-era spending levels, adjusted for inflation. Heck, I wouldn’t even mind too much if they threw in an adjustment for the 14% population growth since 1999 (even though there’s no logical reason why all federal spending should rise with population). That would still leave the budget 28% lower than Obama’s proposal.

Actually, it’s pointless spending a lot of time on the Obama budget proposal since it’s going nowhere. The Senate’s Socialist Democrats have already made it clear that they won’t be considering a budget resolution this year. Doing so would force all those vulnerable senators up for reelection to choose between rebuffing their president or going on record supporting higher taxes, more spending, and an ever-growing debt burden. This budget proposal is purely PR and talking points.

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Must-see video: Mark Levin’s keynote speech at Tea Party 5th birthday

Posted by Richard on February 27, 2014

Jeffrey Lord described Mark Levin as “a national treasure.” This twelve minutes of video from the Tea Party Patriots’ 5th anniversary event prove he’s right. I implore you to watch it. Then watch it again. Then get your family and friends to watch it.

UPDATE: I’ve removed the embedded video because I’m tired of it starting to play an ad every time I load the page, and I can’t figure out how to disable that. Hit the link below to watch it.

 The video is from the Breitbart – Big Government story Levin Calls on Tea Party to Fight Tyranny in USA.

Note: For me, it wouldn’t play in IE 11, but worked fine in Chrome.

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Coburn’s Wastebook: It’s a start

Posted by Richard on December 18, 2013

Back in September, Nancy Pelosi claimed there was nothing left to cut in the federal budget:

“The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

That should have been PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. (“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” should have been their Lie of the Year in 2009 or 2010 when it was fresh, but back then they were busy calling Obamacare critics liars.)

If Pelosi’s claim didn’t immediately strike you as patently absurd — or if it did, but you want to get fired up by some of the evidence to the contrary — check out Sen. Tom Coburn’s 177-page “Wastebook 2013,” available for online reading or download at Scribd. (Don’t let the table of contents fool you. For some reason it’s truncated to the first 10 examples of government waste; the book catalogs 100.) It’s certainly not an exhaustive catalog of all the crap that’s still in the federal cupboard. I’m sure it could be expanded ten-fold and still not be exhaustive. But the Senator and his staff can’t spend all their time on this annual project. It’s a good start. The waste it documents totals $30 billion.

One of my favorite (if that’s the right word) examples of wasteful spending is the Commerce Department’s “let me Google that for you” agency (#8 on p. 16 of the Wastebook). Other government agencies and departments spend millions of dollars a year buying copies of “government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information” and reports from Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS).  But (footnotes omitted):

Required by law to be largely self-sustaining, NTIS charges other federal agencies to access its collection of reports. However, a November 2012 review of the office by GAO uncovered that about three-quarters of the reports in the NTIS archives were available from other public sources. Specifically, “GAO estimated that approximately 621,917, or about 74 percent, of the 841,502 reports were readily available from one of the other four publicly available sources GAO searched.”
GAO explains, “The source that most often had the reports GAO was searching for was another website located at” In addition, reports could be found on the website of the issuing federal department, the Government Printing Office’s website, or

Two others are worth bringing to the attention of all those hawkish conservatives and Republicans who sound like Nancy Pelosi when it comes to the Defense Department, insisting that too much has already been cut and the military cupboard is bare.

First, there’s #7 in the Wastebook (p. 14). The US is winding down operations in Afghanistan. What to do with all that expensive equipment we sent there? (footnotes omitted)

The military has decided to simply destroy more than $7 billion worth of equipment rather than sell it or ship it back home.
“We have a lot of stuff there. Inevitably, we overbought,” stated Gordon Adams, a professor at American University and former defense official in the Clinton administration. “We always do when we go to war.”
Why just not leave the excess equipment in country for use by the Afghan military? A major concern is that Afghanistan’s forces would be unable to maintain it. Moreover, there is worry the defense industry might suffer if the Pentagon unloads tons of used equipment on the market at vastly reduced prices. This should be viewed as market correction and a positive outcome of the drawdown, not a reason to send valuable equipment to the scrap heap.

Among the items to be shredded are thousands of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, which cost half a million dollars apiece.

Then there’s #10 (p. 20), which is also vaguely Afghanistan-related (footnotes omitted):

In an era of technological advances that make the machines of war smaller and more agile, the Army spent three and a half years developing a football field-sized blimp that would provide continuous surveillance of the Afghan battlefield – called by some an “unblinking eye.”
In 2013, however, the Army closed the blimp’s eye forever when it brought the project to a halt after spending nearly $300 million. The Army sold the airship back to the contractor that was building it for just $301,000.

The unmanned blimp was supposed to be able to fly above 20,000 ft. and remain aloft for 21 days at a time, but was grossly overweight and never came close to meeting those criteria. Not to mention far behind schedule and over budget.

In addition to the cost and schedule mishaps, some noted how the blimp had an uncertain mission with the Afghan war winding down.
It was not the first airship to be grounded by the military, however.
According to Defense News, “The Defense Department has spent more than $1 billion on at least nine programs in recent years, yet the military owns just one working airship, a piloted Navy blimp called MZ-3A, which is used for research.”

There are 97 more examples, and I’ve only skimmed a bit over half of them. Some have price tags in the millions or billions, while others are “merely” one or two hundred thousand dollars. But to paraphrase the late Sen. Dirksen, a hundred thousand  here, there, and in tens of thousands of other places adds up to real money.

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Drone hunting license? Count me in!

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2013

Wow. Phillip Steel has certainly gotten a lot of media attention with the petition he’s circulated in tiny Deer Trail, CO (population 546). He already has enough signatures to put it on the ballot. The town council will consider his proposed ordinance at their Aug. 6 meeting. The ordinance would allow people to buy a drone hunting license for $25. It would pay a bounty of $25 to $100 for the downing of a US government drone over the sovereign air space of Deer Trail.

I love the idea! It’s fun and a nice fundraising vehicle for Deer Trail, but it also makes an important point.

7NEWS Reporter Amanda Kost asked Steel, “Have you ever seen a drone flying over your town?”

“No,” Steel responded. “This is a very symbolic ordinance. Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way.”

I hope they come up with a nice looking, real official drone hunting license certificate. Because I’ll buy one.

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Obama Justice Department organized and promoted anti-Zimmerman protests

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2013

Wow. Just wow. Venezuela ain’t got nothin’ on us. We’ve truly become a banana republic (emphasis in original):

Document: DOJ Community Relations Service was deployed to Sanford, FL, “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African American male.” 

Washington, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced today that has obtained documents in response to local, state, and federal records requests revealing that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.

JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested with the DOJ on April 24, 2012; 125 pages were received on May 30, 2012. JW administratively appealed the request on June 5, 2012, and received 222 pages more on March 6, 2013. According to the documents:

  • March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
  • April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
  • April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

No, the documents reveal that the employees were “Thomas Battles, Regional Director, and Mildred De Robles, Miami-Dade Coordinator and their co-workers at the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service,” so they were already stationed in the area, not “deployed” from Washington. The expenses (admittedly small potatoes as far as government expenditures go; but still …) were probably for things like meeting rooms, “working lunches,” and maybe sign printing.

Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the DOJ’s CRS, the employees of which are required by law to “conduct their activities in confidence,” reportedly has greatly expanded its role under President Barack Obama. Though the agency claims to use “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution procedures,” press reports along with the documents obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the unit deployed to Sanford, FL, took an active role in working with those demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman.

On April 15, 2012, during the height of the protests, the Orlando Sentinel reported“They [the CRS] helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” The paper quoted the Rev. Valarie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protestors, as saying “They were there for us,” after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.

Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which led to the ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee, was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding Lee be fired.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, DOJ employees with the CRS had arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

“These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”

I wonder if Department of Justice Community Relations Service employees will be “providing support” for the riots that many in the media are expecting when George is Zimmerman is (quite properly) acquitted.

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If Sen. Graham has nothing to hide…

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2013

Blowing off the 4th Amendment, Senator Lindsey Graham (OR-SC) has defended the Obama administration’s increasingly powerful surveillance state and specifically NSA’s Prism program, arguing that if we have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t bother us that our email is being monitored. FreedomWorks is challenging Sen. Graham to “lead by example.” They’re collecting signatures on a petition requesting that the Senator release his email password. Go to right now and sign. It only takes a few seconds. It costs nothing. And haven’t you always wanted to read Lindsey Graham’s email?

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The war against savers escalates

Posted by Richard on March 17, 2013

A while back, people who worry about the growing mountains of sovereign debt pointed to Greece as the canary in the coal mine. We have a new canary, and he’s got a bad cough: Cyprus. The Eurocrats are funding a bailout of Cyprus by doing what debt-laden governments with no respect for the rule of law or the sanctity of contracts usually end up doing eventually: seizing the assets of savers.

I’m not shedding any tears for the Russian klepto-billionaires who parked their ill-gotten riches in Cyprus. And maybe only a few for the Cypriots who until now believed they could get something for nothing through the miracle of endless government borrowing. But prudent and frugal folks throughout the heavily-indebted nations of Europe must be wondering when the EU will come after their savings. Under the mattress or in a hole in the back yard must be starting to look like better options than a bank account.

Think it can’t happen in the good old USA? It already has. In April 1933, a month after taking office, FDR issued an executive order (under the “Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917”) outlawing the private ownership of gold coins, bullion, and gold certificates. Owners had a month to turn it all in or face 10 years in prison. They were reimbursed at face value — the owner of a $20 gold double eagle (which contained gold worth $19.99 at the time) was given $20 in currency. But once all the gold had been turned in, FDR quickly devalued the dollar by 59%. That double eagle, had the owner been allowed to keep it, would have been worth $35. Essentially, this was a confiscation of wealth that makes the Cyprus “haircut” look picayune.

More recently and on a smaller scale, when the Obama administration turned GM into Government Motors, they abrogated contracts and confiscated the assets of bondholders in order to turn them over to their friends in the UAW.

And for some time now, left-wing activists and Obama administration officials (but I repeat myself) have been talking about how “unfair to poor people” 401k and IRA accounts are and suggesting that the government should do for retirement accounts what it’s doing for health care: take over.

Fiat money allows governments to confiscate wealth slowly and stealthily by inflating the currency, thus shrinking both your savings and their debt. But if (when) things start to go out of control and panic sets in, they’ll come after your savings more directly and immediately. You might want to be prepared.

HT: Instapundit (via email from David Aitken)

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A boundless imperial presidency

Posted by Richard on March 6, 2013

I feel like I’ve been transported to an alternate universe. Sen. Rand Paul asked Obama administration officials repeatedly over a period of weeks whether “the President has the power to authorize the use of lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.” After stonewalling for weeks, they finally responded by saying essentially that they haven’t assassinated anyone yet, they currently have no plans to do so, but they might in the future if an American posed, in the President’s judgment, an “imminent threat.”

AG Eric Holder maintained that “[a]s a policy matter” the administration rejects the use of military force against Americans on US soil when it isn’t necessary, and rejected Sen. Paul’s question as “entirely hypothetical.” In other words, they think the President has the authority to order Hellfire missile strikes on Americans in the United States if he decides it’s necessary.

Sen. Paul is filibustering the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director. He offered to end his filibuster if the Obama administration submitted a clear, concise statement outlining its position regarding the President’s authority and the legal basis for its position. No response. Earlier this evening, he offered to end his filibuster if the Senate by unanimous consent suspended the rules and voted on a “sense of the Senate” resolution declaring that the President may not use drones to assassinate  Americans on US soil who don’t pose an imminent threat. Sen. Dick Durbin (who during a previous administration compared the guards at Gitmo to Nazis, Stalinists, and the Khmer Rouge) objected. Senate Democrats refuse to say that killing Americans on US soil who pose no threat is wrong; in fact, they refuse to go on record one way or the other on the question.

Does that sound like we’re still a free people? Does that sound like we still have the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Does that sound like we’re still a government of laws and not of men?

I fear for my country. The spirit of Hugo Chavez is alive and well in Washington, D.C.

I can only hope that the outrage over this assertion of unlimited Presidential power and the support for Sen. Paul continue to grow and have significant and lasting effects. I #StandWithRand.

And I may have to go ahead and buy an AR-15 now, regardless of price.

UPDATE: As of 11:20 PM (MT), the top trend on Twitter is no longer #StandWithRand (it had been for much of the day). It’s dropped to second — behind Sen. Rand Paul and just ahead of #filibuster.

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Obama’s “Let them eat cake” moment

Posted by Richard on June 8, 2012

The President held a press conference today, and he didn’t do himself any favors re-election-wise. In an incredibly clueless answer to a question about the economy, he argued that “the private sector is doing fine” and the only problem with our economy is that the government sector isn’t big enough. Here’s the key minute:

[YouTube link]

He again called on the Republicans to pass his “Jobs Act,” which he said would create a million new jobs for construction workers, policemen, firemen, and teachers — in other words, more government workers and more workers on government construction projects — and he lamented that fact that governors and mayors weren’t doing enough hiring.

Plenty of Republicans have responded forcefully to this nonsense, including Governors Christie, Jindal, and Walker. I especially liked Jindal’s pithy observation that the Obama administration is “at the nexus of liberalism and incompetence,” and Scott Walker’s summation of the difference between the Socialist Democrats and the rest of us:

“There are two very different views in the country,” Walker said. “The current administration seems to think that success is measured by how many people are dependent on the government. I think success is measured by how many are not.”

To me, there’s a certain irony to Obama’s recent remarks on the economy. In addition to an insufficiently large government sector, he blames our economic problems on the problems of Europe. But this is the man whose quest to “fundamentally transform” America is a quest to make us more like Europe, with its abundantly large government sector. A lot of good that’s done them.

Well, at least the finger-pointing at governors, mayors, and Europe has led to less “blame Bush” rhetoric.

UPDATE: Ever since I heard the President say “the private sector is doing fine,” something in the back of my mind has been bugging me about that statement, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Finally, it came to me — this isn’t the first time I’ve heard almost exactly that phrase. It was last October that Senator Harry Reid (SD-NV) said:

“It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine.  It’s public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers.”

I’ve got the whole story here.

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Crippling regulatory uncertainty

Posted by Richard on May 29, 2012

A friend who owns a condo showed me the latest condo community association newsletter the other day. An article in it illustrates in a small way why the economy in general and the housing market in particular aren’t going to get healthy as long as the Obama administration is in office.

Because they often attract first-time buyers with limited funds for down payments, condos are frequently financed with FHA loans. Let’s set aside for the moment the issue of whether the FHA program should exist — or needs to. It’s been in place for many years, guaranteeing loans with low down payments. To offset the increased risk, the government requires buyers to carry mortgage insurance until their equity in the property reaches 20%, and there are stricter rules on what properties qualify for an FHA loan.

Apparently for condos, HUD requires the condominium association to apply for FHA certification of its properties. And the process has become much more onerous under the Obama administration. For one thing, in this area as in so many others, the Obama administration has made regulatory uncertainty a way of life, as the newsletter explains (emphasis in original):

In November 2009, the federal government decided to change EVERYTHING with respect to the process and approval requirements for condominium associations only. Then they changed again in February 2011. And again in June 2011. …

Through June 2011, Westwind Management (our management company) was successful in recertifying all of its qualified condominium clients within HUD standards. Now, condominium associations are required to be recertified every two years. This is a time consuming and costly burden that was not necessary before 2009.

But it’s not just constantly changing regulations and burdensome paperwork. The managing agent has to keep HUD informed continuously of any information changes, possible defects, disputes among owners, etc. There are no doubt scores, and perhaps hundreds, of pages of hard-to-understand regulations detailing what the management agent is obligated to provide. And he or she is personally responsible for failure to comply:

The language is vague and the penalties are untenable. The penalty for a fraudulent package or not reporting changes is up to $1,000,000 in fines and/or a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Would you want that job? Or invest in a condo management company in this regulatory climate?

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Blogger threatened for writing about nutrition

Posted by Richard on May 1, 2012

After being hospitalized with diabetes,  Steve Cooksey adopted a low-carb, high-protein diet. Within 30 days his diabetes was under control without drugs, and in three months he lost 45 pounds. He decided to start blogging about his success. When the North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutrition (NCBDN) discovered what he was doing, they informed him that he was breaking the law by “providing nutritional counseling” without a license. His blog could be shut down and he could face fines and jail time.

What kind of “nutritional counseling” did Cooksey offer? Responding to someone concerned about a diabetic friend, Cooksey wrote, “Your friend must first and foremost obtain and maintain normal blood sugars.” The NCBDN informed him that this kind of “assessing and advising requires a license.” It was OK for him to list the foods he ate, but if he recommended them to others, the NCBDN declared, he was “providing diabetic counseling which requires a license.”

This isn’t an isolated incident, according to WorldNetDaily. In fact, the FDA has gone much further and wants to go further still:

The actions against Cooksey are part of a growing trend by government officials to crack down on any groups or persons that offer alternatives to traditional medical treatment.

In 2010, the FDA raided the offices of Daniel Chapter One, a Christian ministry that promotes a diet based on the bible chapter that is its namesake after a federal judge refused to allow the FTC to level a massive fine against the company.

“They came in screaming and hollering, ‘This is a raid, hands up.’ I saw a gun in my face,” said Jim Feijo, founder of the company.

“They patted Jim down and removed him from the office. They didn’t show me a warrant. They came in very aggressively, that was needless,” said Tricia Feijo, Jim’s wife and partner and a trained homeopath.

Under Obamacare, the FDA has determined that a person’s own body is considered a drug and subject to regulation.

The Centeno-Schultz clinic in Denver pioneered Regenexx, a treatment in which a patient’s stem cells are removed, cultivated for two weeks in a lab then re-injected back into the body. The procedure is used to treat patients with knee injuries, partial rotator cuff tears in the shoulder and lower back disc bulges.

In 2008, the FDA informed Dr. Christopher Centeno that it considered the stem cells to be a drug and subsequently stopped the clinic from cultivating patients’ stem cells.

The FDA has even suggested that bottled water when used to treat dehydration should be regulated as a drug. Under the organization’s “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration,” the agency said it should have the authority to regulate all vitamins, supplements, herbs and other natural substances, including water when used to “treat” dehydration.

Want to do something about outrageous nonsense like this? Life Extension Foundation’s Legislative Action Center is a good place to start.

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Obama vastly expands government emergency powers

Posted by Richard on March 20, 2012

Chilling news from Simon Black:

Quietly, and with little fanfare, President Obama signed a “National Defense Resources Preparedness” Executive Order on Friday. As the name suggests, the order intends to shore up the country’s national defense resources in advance of a national emergency.

To be fair, this is not the first time that such an order has been written. Presidents Bush (II), Clinton, Reagan, and even Eisenhower provided directives in the same spirit as President Obama’s order– providing some level of government commandeering in times of national emergency.

In the past, these orders have related to things like production capacity for defense contractors, or giving FEMA authority to resolve disputes between other departments in federally designated emergency areas.

President Obama’s order, however, takes things much, much further.

Much, much further indeed! Read the whole disturbing thing.

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